Al’s Morning Meeting: Fileswapper Busters

Concerned that information about your file-sharing username may have been subpoenaed by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)? Check here to see if your username or IP address is on one of the subpoenas filed with the D.C. District Court. This information is drawn from the court's publicly available PACER database and will be updated when that system is updated. The RIAA announced on June 25, 2003, that it will begin suing users of peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing. According to the announcement, the RIAA will be targeting users who upload/share "substant...

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The Most Vulnerable Clients – Attorneys Must Deal With Special Issues When Kids Come into Contact with the Courts

In most cases, parents are given between six months and a year to show significant progress toward complying with court orders regarding their behavior. These mandates most often call for parents to undergo drug treatment, get a job, obtain suitable housing or take parenting classes, says James Marsh, founder of the Children's Law Center in Washington, D.C. Parents who fail to comply are stripped of their parental rights, and other permanency arrangements are sought for their children. At least, the thinking goes, the children aren't left in suspended circumstances for ...

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Bill to require clergy to report abuse cases

The measure sounds complex, said James Marsh, director of legal and policy analysis for the Center for Social Work Management, a nationwide watchdog and consulting group. He said people who would be required to report abuse cases might be confused about who they must refer allegations to.

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Background and commentary on Danielle van Dam murder case

Lost in foster care? Data only now reflect needs of the children

The child welfare system is, in the end, an information system, and there are legal consequences if files are lost because a social worker quits or some other foul-up, said James Marsh, a lawyer who has done pro bono adoptions in the District. "It's like garbage in, garbage out. If the information is bad, the court won't make a good decision and the child won't end up in a good place," he said

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D.C. Child Welfare Chief Drops Lawsuit

"It is an extraordinary remedy for a judge to order the head of any agency into court," said James Marsh, president of The Children's Law Center. "I think it was based on an act of desperation and the reality of the Brianna case."

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Judges Describe Agonizing Decisions

"The judges don't have crystal balls. It's just like a computer: garbage in, garbage out," said James Marsh, president of the Children's Law Center, who went on to give one reason that cases require close monitoring. "A lot of times, there are other people living in the house, and there are people coming and going," Marsh said. "The family is in one house one day, and they could be in another house the next day. It's difficult for social workers who have 40 or 50 cases to get out there and visit the home."

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Quote of the Day

"The judges don't have crystal balls. It's just like a computer: garbage in, garbage out." -- James Marsh, president of the Children's Law Center, explaining that decisions in child abuse cases often suffer because the social workers who advise judges are overworked or are insufficiently trained.

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Background and commentary on the state of the nation’s foster care system

Background and commentary on the threat of 100 foster parents of District of Columbia children to return them because the District’s child welfare system was several months and millions of dollars behind in payments to day-care providers